Advice from Dr. Greenspan

How should I integrate different autism treatment strategies?

If something has been helpful to a lot of children, it may be helpful for your child; but, you always want to watch and observe. Never assume a strategy will be successful.

My child’s pediatrician and I disagree over an autism diagnosis, but I would like my child to receive services. What actions can I take?

Parents need to lead the way and educate themselves with regard to their children’s health and well-being. In pediatric trainings, there is little time given to developmental problems or autism spectrum disorders.

What autism intervention strategies are best for my child? What should I do and not do?

To help your child relate, communicate, and think, it’s important to create the best intervention program available. There are a number of strategies that your child may respond positively to, but there are also interventions that you should avoid.

I have an autistic teenager. When is it appropriate to start teaching life skills?

For most of the kids who are older and on the autism spectrum, the big problem is service and educational communities giving up on them,” states Dr. Greenspan, and abandoning thinking skills in the process. We shouldn’t stop challenging older children simply because they are autistic.

My child flaps his hands and mouths words in public. How do I stop this kind of behavior?

Every behavior a child engages in, autistic or not, should be treated as purposeful and as a basis for interaction,

Should parents wait to see if their child becomes autistic before intervening? (audio clip)

A child’s speed or level of development is not always easy to determine, but you don’t necessarily need to pinpoint it to improve it. Turn the observations that concern you into action.

How do I help my autistic child to learn, think and function well? How do I help my child academically?

 One of the real challenges with children with special needs is grappling with how you help them master reflective, analytic thinking – seeing the big picture and making inferences. In studies comparing children with autism to children without autism, who are matched for IQ, the separating factor isn’t academics. “What separates special needs populations from non-special needs populations is the ability to think at a highly reflective level,” points our Dr. Greenspan.

Is medication a good autism intervention strategy? How much medication should I give my child?

“Don’t overmedicate,” cautions Dr. Greenspan. “If you get a beneficial effect, hold it there. Don’t try to get it ‘perfect.’”

How can I tell if my child is on the autism spectrum? (audio clip)

As a parent, you know your child better than anyone else, since you observe their behavior when they are at their very best, and know what they are capable of. "Trust your instincts," says Dr. Greenspan. After you’ve observed your child, approach professionals who are oriented toward your way of thinking about what your child needs.